Posts tagged “environment

Hope Springs Eternal for Riverfront Tourism

Posted on August 14, 2012

Countless cities have harnessed rivers as focal points for civic renaissance and tourism gambits. Memphis’s Mud Island and Minneapolis’s Mill District are but two of the nation’s riverside destinations. San Antonio’s River Walk, by dint of its age, is a more iconic example. First envisioned in the 1920s and constructed with federal funding under FDR’s New Deal, the River Walk became as much a handle for San Antonio as the famed Alamo. While creating a great riverine attraction on the surface may appear straightforward, it involves much more than meets the eye. Maintaining San Antonio’s tourist and civic goldmine is not simply a matter of maintaining the infrastructure at water’s edge. Rather, at this time of year, especially in droughts, it is a matter of…

American Tourism Now Available!

Posted on June 15, 2012

American Tourism: Constructing a National Tradition is now available to order from your favorite bookseller. American Tourism reveals the remarkable stories behind the places Americans love to visit. From Independence Hall to Las Vegas, and from Silver Springs to Seattle’s Pike Place Market, the collection draws back the curtain on many of America’s most successful tourist traps to reveal the carefully hidden backstory of transforming places into destinations. Readers will discover that a powerful creative process, rather than chance, has separated the enduring attractions from the many failures that litter the highways and byways of tourism history. American Tourism‘s thirty-five lively, illustrated essays tap the expertise of the country’s leading academic and public historians, writers, and tourism professionals. The contributors illuminate the visionaries who created iconic destinations and…

The Scenic Submarine

Posted on June 2, 2012

Silver Springs once had direct, nearby competitors, one of which distinguished itself with its “Scenic Submarine,” “America’s Most Unusual Boat Ride.”  Until 1974, Rainbow Springs competed for the same tourists as its more famous counterpart thirty miles east in the same county in north-central Florida, as detailed in Tim Hollis’s Glass Bottom Boats and Mermaid Tails: Florida’s Tourist Springs. Originally called Blue Spring, Rainbow Springs got its name in the 1930s as part of an effort to attract tourists. The destination grew into the postwar years as the attraction added glass-bottomed boats and even submarine rides and staged underwater tableaux in much the same fashion as Silver Springs, historian Tom Berson’s “stop” on the “itinerary” of American Tourism: Constructing a National Tradition, due out…

Race at the Cape

Posted on May 22, 2012

Last Saturday, hybrid and electric cars “raced” vintage cars down the main drag in Cape May, New Jersey. The so-called “Race at the Cape” was a reenactment (with a contemporary twist) of a historic beach race between Henry Ford and Louis Chevrolet in Cape May in 1905. For Ford and Chevrolet, speed was the object. For Saturday’s “racers,” raising awareness about energy efficiency was a greater goal. Race at the Cape kicks off the 2012 program of the Cape May Forum, “Running on Empty? The Future of Energy” (June 2-3). Founded in 2010 in the spirit of the longstanding Chautauqua Institution in western New York, the Cape May Forum creates a similar venue for intellectual tourism (albeit much less extensive than Chautauqua’s full season…

Treetop Tourism

Posted on April 22, 2012

Just days before Earth Day, visitors to Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, began lining up to experience the tourist destination’s newest attraction:  Zipline Hilton Head. As the Island Packet reported on opening day, the ride, which sends riders suspended from a pulley down gradually sloping wires tethered to a series of treetop towers, mixes family fun with a dose of ecotourism (zip liners can learn about the delicate balance of nature from the company’s hired ecologist/guide) on an island whose early developer pioneered an aesthetic blend of subdued architecture with Lowcountry nature that has until now provided mainly a sylvan backdrop for decidedly calmer forms of recreation. On the face of it, zip lines seem most closely tied to other, more “extreme” forms of…

Drawing Water, Drawing Tourists

Posted on April 21, 2012

It’s almost Earth Day again. Each year, on the appointed day, thousands of Americans make a ritual of caring for the planet: planting a tree, picking up litter, or simply stopping to smell the roses. Yet the interest, of course, goes far beyond that for many, even reshaping leisure pursuits. Growing trends in ecotourism and agritourism do not necessarily signal a transformative new mindset about the environment, but the surging popularity of visiting working farms, farmers’ co-ops, and public markets and patronizing farm-to-table-minded restaurants suggest more than a passing fancy for seeking bonds to the natural world around us. Traditional tourist destinations seldom figure prominently in any discussion of environmental tourism, but they should. Take water, for instance. Near- and long-term concerns about water…